Michael Clarke, better known as Mighty Rasta, eventually wants to be remembered as one of the best grave builders in Jamaica.
He told The Beacon that he already build more than 10,000 graves within the 28-year period that he has been in the business.
Adamant that he was not exaggerating the figure, Clarke said at least 5,000 of the graves he constructed are located at Commodore Cemetery – not far from his home in the Rosemount area of Linstead, St. Catherine.
“Mi mek graves everyweh inna Jamaica – all about in the cemetery dem – Rosehall, Ewarton, Lluidas Vale, Spring Vale,” he revealed, adding that he also works at family plots.
Clarke, who initially was a welder, ended up being a grave builder by mere coincidence.
He explained that, when his brother Trevor Clarke died in 1992, it was difficult to find masons who specialized in grave building.
He took up the challenge and left many people impressed. Since then, Clarke has been getting requests to build graves. That’s how he supports himself and his family financially.
“A this mi deal wid fi years; grave mi build; mi nuh build house,” the self-taught mason told The Beacon, adding: “Yuh have to be a good mason; that is all you need to build a decent grave.”
Clarke encourages young people to take up the grave-building skill. “Everybody fi learn a skill. A lot of people making grave now; one time a nuh everybody used to mek grave – a special man used to build grave,” he added.
Clarke said his clients are usually satisfied; even the dead would be proud.
“The dead people nuh really tell mi seh dem love the grave, but mi know dem love it,” he further said.
“Mi an duppy nuh play; mi get rid a dem. Dem nuh supposed to come back to mi. That is my work; I see to it dat dem bury.”
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